[sarex] STS-116 MCC Status Report #18
azrowe80 at verizon.net
Mon Dec 18 10:30:24 PST 2006
SUBMITTED BY ARTHUR N1ORC - AMSAT A/C #31468
10 a.m. CST Monday, Dec. 18, 2006
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STATUS REPORT: STS-116-18
STS-116 MCC Status Report #18
Discovery and International Space Station crew members will conduct
their fourth spacewalk of the week today, an excursion aimed at freeing
a snagged, partially retracted station solar array so it will fully fold
Astronaut Bob Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang, a European Space Agency
astronaut from Sweden, will venture outside the station at 1:12 p.m.
CST. It will be Curbeam's fourth spacewalk of the mission, more than any
astronaut has performed during a single shuttle flight, and it will be
Fuglesang's third. Using a variety of specially prepared, tape-insulated
tools, they will work to complete the retraction of the port solar array
wing of the station's P6 truss.
Curbeam and Fuglesang spent the night in the station's Quest airlock in
a procedure called a "campout." The air pressure in the compartment was
reduced to 10.2 pounds per square inch to assist in purging nitrogen
from their bodies, a measure that helps prevent decompression sickness.
The shuttle crew was awakened at 8:17 a.m. CST to the song “Good
Vibrations,” performed by the Beach Boys. The song was played for the
entire crew in honor of the vibrations the spacewalkers may create today
to attempt to free the balky solar panels. As part of the suite of
potential activities they have on hand to assist with folding the array,
Curbeam and Fuglesang will shake the solar blankets by pushing on the
boxes into which they fold. If needed, the spacewalk could last as long
as six and a half hours.
Curbeam will be on the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm during the
spacewalk. He will be equipped to work on two problems believed to be
experienced by the array. One is the apparent jamming of the guide wires
in the grommets designed to guide them. The other is some backward,
balky folding of hinges between solar panels that has been seen during
attempts at retraction. As those issues are dealt with by the
spacewalkers, crew members inside will send commands to further fold the
Fuglesang will be on the P6 truss. He will push the blanket boxes into
which the arrays fold to shake the wing. He also will take pictures,
including some of the P6 starboard solar wing. That wing is to be
retracted on the next shuttle flight to the station. The photos taken by
Fuglesang will assist in the planning of that task.
Expedition 14 Flight Engineer Suni Williams and Discovery Mission
Specialist Joan Higginbotham will operate the station’s robotic arm
during the spacewalk. Pilot Bill Oefelein will serve as the spacewalk
coordinator, or intravehicular officer, inside the spacecraft.
The transfer of equipment and supplies between the shuttle and station
will continue today as well. Almost all of the 4,292 pounds brought up
aboard Discovery has been moved to the station, and the loading of 3,725
pounds of gear in those areas for return to Earth is nearing completion
as well. Discovery's undocking from the station is now planned for 4:09
p.m. on Tuesday. Discovery is planned to land at the Kennedy Space
Center, Florida, at 2:56 p.m. on Friday.
The next STS-116 status report will be issued Monday evening, or earlier
if events warrant.
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